“In The Rearview Mirror” | Blog #28

“In The Rearview Mirror” | Blog #28

Picture gallery at the bottom of the blog!

It was sad seeing the majestic, snow-capped Rockies recede into my rearview mirror this morning (Tuesday) as I drove east of Denver in the morning light. Amy & Leah flew home yesterday, and Ben and I caught breakfast with his Rhodes friend and teammate, Alex McTaggert. Ben left with Alex, and I spent the morning back at the Denver Art Museum and went to Coors Field to see the Rockies play the Marlins on a near perfect day for baseball and was treated to seeing Marlins’ Jesus Sanchez crush a 496-foot homer. It was another full, good day.

The Denver Art Museum is truly remarkable. Amy, Leah, and I were able to dip our toe in the water on Wednesday, but we didn’t even get to the 7-story building across the street that has one of the finest collections of West and Native American art that I know. It also has floors focusing on Pre-Columbian art of the Americas and Asian art. Being able to leisurely peruse the collection made my morning. I was the first in the museum and made a bee line to the top floor, the Western Art collection. To my joyful surprise I realized several key paintings from the permanent collection had been loaned out to the Frist for a touring exhibition while the DMA was closed for renovations. Seeing them in situ was like seeing old friends.

Sunday was the last day the four of us would have together and we woke up to snow! Didn’t see that coming! Our plan was to drive to the western entrance of the Rocky Mountain National Park since we couldn’t drive through on Thursday due to the snow. It was a revelation to see the utter destruction wrought by the wildfires that swept through the area two summers ago. We could only go part up the road, which still is not passable at the higher elevations. Nevertheless, we were able to see several moose and loved the drive down to the park and a day spent playing games in the car and the laughter and new family stories the time afforded.

Today was another long driving day – Breckinridge to Junction City, KS — 500 miles. So, I left at 5:30am and loved seeing the morning light dance on the snow-capped peaks. One of the reasons I departed so early was to get through Denver before post-Memorial Day traffic, but more importantly, to get to Abilene, KS by mid-afternoon to tour the Dwight D. Eisenhauer home, museum, and library. I first read a biography of Ike as a boy and the stories of his growing up in the early decades of the Twentieth Century on the edge of the frontier. Abilene is within 100 miles of the geographic center of the country and when Ike was growing up it was an important transportation hub as the terminus of the Chisholm Trail and rail head taking cattle to Chicago. Reading about Ike’s boyhood prior to his matriculation at West Point and his meteoric rise in the army, always fueled my imagination. Like Willa Cather’s  My Antonia and One of Ours, the years span the movement in our nation’s history from frontier to settled cities of the West. The house was under renovation, and I couldn’t go in, but the museum was comprehensive and excellent. One appreciates a life of service Ike gave to this country and the world. The very interstate highways I’ve been driving are a legacy from Ike. His decisive intervention after the crisis in Little Rock after Brown v Board by sending in the 101st Airborne to help integrate the Little Rock 9 in Central High School demonstrated how the federal government could stand behind the Civil Rights guaranteed by the Court. But one of the greatest surprises was a chapel where Ike, Mamie, and their first son, Dowd, are buried. It looks like the chapel of National Presbyterian Church, Washington, DC where they were members in DC. NPC was the first church I joined, while a freshman at American University. Standing in the chapel I found myself meditating on the vision of public service that Ike lived out and the state of our current political dysfunction. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.